Former Yakama Tribal officer sentenced for attempting to produce child pornography

Yakama Tribal officer sentenced for child porn

A 39-year-old former Yakama Tribal officer has been sentenced for attempting to produce child pornography.

Lorenzo Elias Mendez will spend 20 years in prison after his conviction in August 2019. He’ll also be under court supervision for 20 years after he’s released.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office, Mendez secretively filmed a minor underdressing with a hidden “spy camera.” The photos were taken from a camera were received through a WiFi signal on his phone. He then loaded the images into apps where he edited and saved them. More than 500 images were taken, which was presented during his trial.

At his sentencing, Judge Mendoza said he was a tribal officer at the time and “abused the trust not only of his victim, but of the community as well in committing the crime,” a press release said.

He also said Mendez showed no empathy toward the victim.

“Judge Mendoza told Mendez he hoped he had heard the victim when she told the Court Mendez’s crime would haunt her for the rest of her life,” the press release stated.

The case was part of a bigger operation called Project Safe Childhood, which launched nationwide in May 2006. It combats the “growing epidemic” of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Investigators included the Moxee Police Department and FBI.